Our new Toyota NRL Dream Team expert
With more interest in Toyota NRL Dream Team than ever before, we're bringing you a new fantasy football expert to help you get in the inside word when picking your team in 2012.
Rob Bruns knows what it feels like to take out the top prize in fantasy NRL, and will be on board every week as part of NRL.com's video news show NRL Daily with all the latest Dream Team news and advice.
Along with resident NRL.com Dream Team scribe the Lone Scout, Rob will be your go-to man for the answers on all things Dream Team during the 2012 season.
NRL.com: How long have you been playing fantasy games, and what keeps you coming back?
Rob: This will be my fifth year of NRL fantasy footy. I dabbled a bit in American fantasy sports but never too seriously. I keep coming back 'cause I'm a massive league fan and there's no better way for a fan to get further involved in the game then through fantasy games. You learn more about the game in so many ways and it makes watching the games much more interesting. Although sometimes stressful, it's a great addiction to have.
Who do you play with? Mates, colleagues? How competitive does it get?
With my mates, they've all been getting into it now for a while. This year I think I'll be in a comp with Freddy and Gibbsy and the boys which should be cool. Hopefully I'll teach them a lesson.
Will you be chasing the overall prize in 2012, or are you just in it to beat your mates?
How has fantasy sports changed your life, if at all?
Well I never used to wake up at 3am in the morning and go turn the computer on to look into a trade idea I was dreaming about. I call them 'fantasy meltdowns'. Like when a planned 30 minutes on the computer turns into five hours.
How much research did you do during the season to stay on top of things?
I'll watch every game, which is important if you want to do really well, just to create your own opinions and maybe get that important point of difference. I read as much league stuff as I can – newspapers, mags, online, fan forums, whatever's out there. Getting all the late mail is very important. I also keep an eye on the Toyota Cup so I'm onto the talent coming through.
How long do you spend each week on your team and trades?
It's hard to say. Even if it wasn't for Dream Team I'd be reading and following all the rugby league news anyway. For others out there, 20 minutes minimum. Watch out though, it can easily turn into 10 hours.
Will you avoid picking Origin players in your squad?
I wouldn't worry about Origin, it's a long way off, and a lot can happen before then. Just focus on picking the players you think will score the best.
How will you stagger your trades during the season?
It's obviously important to be careful with your trades, but don't be too stingy. There's no point hanging onto them at the expense of missing a good opportunity. I've used 5-6 trades in the first three weeks every year I've played.
Should you keep salary cap cash up your sleeve at the start of the season?
No. If you have left over cash then put it into improving your starting 17.
What are your thoughts on the new points scoring system in 2012?
Any players you have your eye on for 2012? Or are you keeping them close to your chest?
Lots of players, I think there's a wide range of really good opportunities out there. Check out NRL Daily for some of my predictions.
Do you have a go-to captain in mind for this season?
I've already locked in Cory Parker.